India Gives Visa Waiver to Pakistani Players, Blind Cricket Team Officials
In the latest turn of events, the Interior Ministry on Tuesday (December 6) authorized the issuance of visas to 34 Pakistani players and officials participating in the ongoing Blind Cricket World Cup.
The development comes after the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) issued a statement claiming that the team is unable to obtain a visa permit from the Indian Foreign Ministry.
Here is what the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) said in a statement earlier on Tuesday:
“This unfortunate incident has left the Pakistan blind cricket team in the lurch. Pakistan was a serious contender to win the World Cup as Pakistan finished runners-up twice in the previous two editions of this format of World Cups (2012 and 2017) and defeated current T20 world champions India five consecutive times in the last five encounters during two Tri-Nation competitions in 2021 and 2022 and won both events.
“It was very likely that Pakistan and India would have closed horns in the final of the ongoing World Cup and given the current form of green shirts, Pakistan had great chances of winning the World Cup.
“According to available information, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs has denied the Pakistan Blind Cricket Clearance on political grounds. PBCC strongly condemned this discriminatory act by India as sport should be above regional politics and Special Persons mega sport events in particular should be treated fairly and all teams should be given equal opportunity to participate in the event. Our counterpart from the Blind Cricket Association in India pleaded with their government for permission to enter Pakistan, but nothing was heard.”
India approves granting of visas
However, in the surprising turn of events, India agreed to grant visas to their players and support staff for the World Cup in India. The officials said that after the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) agreed to issue visas to Pakistan’s cricket contingent, the State Department would now issue the visas to them so that they can travel to India for the ongoing tournament.
India, Bangladesh, Australia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Pakistan will participate in the tournament, which will be played from December 5 to 17.
Team India will take on Pakistan on December 7 at the Sir Fort Sports Complex. The hosts defeated Nepal by 274 runs in their opening match of the T20 World Cup for Blind at Faridabad.
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